Twins snap 18-game playoff skid with series-opening win over Blue Jays
The Minnesota Twins defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 in Game 1 of their wild-card series, snapping the franchise's 18-game postseason losing streak.
Royce Lewis hit home runs in his first two at-bats off Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman to power the Twins to victory.
Minnesota's victory is its first in the postseason since Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS against the New York Yankees.
"Fans here support this organization through and through. Generations do," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said postgame, according to The Athletic's Aaron Gleeman. "They love the team and they want to enjoy things like what they just saw."
Baldelli added, "I thought this place was going to split open and melt, honestly. Fans took over the game."
Lewis, 24, became the third player in MLB history to hit home runs in his first two postseason plate appearances, joining Evan Longoria in 2008 and Gary Gaetti in 1987, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Twins right-hander Pablo López was excellent in his second career postseason appearance, holding the Blue Jays to just one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts.
Minnesota closed out the victory in style as first baseman Donovan Solano made a great diving play to rob George Springer of a base hit in the ninth inning.
The Blue Jays struggled to cash in with runners in scoring positioning, mustering just two hits in nine at-bats and leaving nine runners on base.
Gausman has struggled against the Twins this season, posting a 6.43 ERA with 17 strikeouts, 12 walks, and three home runs allowed across three starts.
"Obviously, not one of my best starts of the year," Gausman said, according to Sports Illustrated's Mitch Bannon. "Walking the leadoff hitter of the game is never how you want to start off. And looking back, obviously, too many pitches thrown and too many deep counts. I made an adjustment in the third, but kind of too late at that point."
Toronto will look to avoid elimination Wednesday afternoon in Game 2. Minnesota will send right-hander Sonny Gray to the mound, while the Blue Jays counter with right-hander José Berríos.
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